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New Adsense Rule/Clarification/Crackdown
potentialgeek




msg:3333329
 10:52 pm on May 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ads placed in the following areas are more susceptible to be clicked, according to the Google AdSense team, and this is discouraged if the users do not have interest in the product being advertised:

- In close proximity to Macromedia Flash games
- Under pop-ups or download prompts
- Near site navigation controls on your pages, such as drop-downs or menu links

The announcement adds that:

"if we detect enough of these clicks and determine that the risk to our advertisers is too great, we may disable the account."

[adsense.blogspot.com...]

I've seen so much abuse of the last one:

"Near site navigation controls on your pages, such as drop-downs or menu links."

They put the ad units stacked just above the navigation links, because they want you to think they are nav links. This is similar to the icon nav link confusion which Google addressed in its last clarification.

I think a new clarification with a limit on proximity would be reasonable, e.g., at least 2" space (or x pixels) between nav and ad, or some other reasonable distance. The issue is proximity, and so a set limit would stop so much deception and confusion.

p/g

[edited by: martinibuster at 9:43 am (utc) on May 8, 2007]
[edit reason] Added link to AdSense Announcement Itself. [/edit]

 

Go60Guy




msg:3333364
 12:36 am on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Good Grief! On the Heatmap page they say:

Ads placed near rich content and navigational aids usually do well because users are focused on those areas of a page.

Talk about confusion!

europeforvisitors




msg:3333367
 12:42 am on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

The issue is proximity, and so a set limit would stop so much deception and confusion.

It sounds like the real issue is deception and confusion, and proximity is just one way deception and confusion are achieved. Consider two hypothetical examples:

(1) A blended ad unit within a few millimeters of a navigation bar would most likely cause confusion.

(2) An ad unit in a contrasting color (or surrounded by a border) would be less likely to attract wasted clicks.

A set pixel distance might or might not help to prevent wasted clicks in the first case, and it probably wouldn't be necessary in the second.

My opinion: If the word gets around that publishers getting whacked for "deception and confusion," other publishers will be less likely to take chances. "Danger! Unstable cliff!" is likely to be as effective as "Walking along the cliff is permitted as long as you stay at least one meter from the edge."

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3333571
 8:59 am on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think I've just about had it with Adsense. My monthly income month is small and the hassle I must put up with to maintain it is making it untenable. I am sure that I am not alone in getting p'd off with the whole situation.

Isn't advertising all about placing ads in obvious places where people will see them? This must be clarified and quick!

martinibuster




msg:3333588
 9:41 am on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

They put the ad units stacked just above the navigation links, because they want you to think they are nav links.

Go60Guy raises a good point. It could be that it's not being near navigation links that's the problem. They could be saying that it's the proximity to interactive links (like drop downs) that may cause users to click on the ads by mistake. If the drop down pulls up (as they tend to do) the user ends up clicking on an ad by mistake.

The blog post says, "we strongly recommend that you move any ad units that are in close proximity to interactive site features."

So what do they mean by interactive? Does a CSS rollover effect qualify as interactive? Or are they singling out drop down/fly-out dynamic menus?

oneguy




msg:3333643
 11:58 am on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

So what do they mean by interactive? Does a CSS rollover effect qualify as interactive? Or are they singling out drop down/fly-out dynamic menus?

I'm confused. I hope someone authoritative will give specifics.

Adsense makes up a very tiny portion of income for me, but I'm not doing anything shady and wouldn't want my account disabled. I do have adsense near menus, but that's because that's where people are looking. As Go60Guy is saying... it's what I was told to do.

I'd like to see some examples with screenshots.

farmboy




msg:3333711
 1:10 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Consider the Blogspot layout templates provided by Google.

Many have a two-column layout with one column being wider and containing the content and then a more narrow column containing links and other supporting information.

A blogger can put up a list of links followed by an AdSense display followed by more links, followed by more AdSense, etc.

I'm thinking the above arrangement is not a problem and AdSense just did a poor job of explaining / detailing the new concerns.

FarmBoy

europeforvisitors




msg:3333746
 1:47 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Go60Guy raises a good point. It could be that it's not being near navigation links that's the problem. They could be saying that it's the proximity to interactive links (like drop downs) that may cause users to click on the ads by mistake. If the drop down pulls up (as they tend to do) the user ends up clicking on an ad by mistake.

Good point. The expression "the proof is in the pudding" comes to mind. It's the junk clicks, not the sneaky or careless ad placement, that will sound alarms and get you into trouble.

jetteroheller




msg:3333774
 2:26 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have 2 ads in the navigation since I started June 2004

The AdLink starts 40 pixel more to the right than the navigation below.

....AdLink
....AdLink
....AdLink
..........
Navigation Link
Navigation Link

There are 2 colnums 150 pixel width for navigation, below a 300x250 ad block.

NavLink......AdLink
NavLink......AdLink
NavLink....NavLink
NavLink....NavLink
NavLink....NavLink
NavLink....NavLink
NavLink....NavLink
..................
300x250 AdSense
300x250 AdSense
300x250 AdSense
300x250 AdSense

celgins




msg:3333854
 4:04 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Possible Partial Solution
The Google Adsense team could alleviate part of the proximity problem by implementing a default 5px border around each ad unit. That way, it becomes a part of the ad unit and is protected from modification through their TOS.

Of course this would throw off most of our design layouts, but it would probably push many ads away from navigation bars.

crxvfr




msg:3333874
 4:36 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

All the link units on my site are coming thru floated to the right, away from the menu navigation. I just made a post in this area about it. I can probably force it but now I'm afraid to clamp down on the width: 100% divs to place them in the proper spot. Is anybody else experiencing this?

edit/add
I just took a closer look around. Site competing with the one I'm working on often used used the tricky method. Their link units been replaced by search boxes!

trinorthlighting




msg:3333882
 4:47 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

What is near? Thats kind of a broad statement. One pixel, One inch, on the other side of the page?

crxvfr




msg:3333895
 4:54 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

I placed it in the default banner location for joomlas js_lunareclpise. It appears just above any content thats selected from the nav menu on the far left, on top of the main content div. One of the pages is a coppermine gallery which puts a menu just below the link units but they are not close or deceiving. The G links are even a different color than my links.

jomaxx




msg:3333903
 5:01 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

- In close proximity to Macromedia Flash games
- Under pop-ups or download prompts
- Near site navigation controls on your pages, such as drop-downs or menu links

I read this warning as being mainly concerned with games, as well as popup messages and drop-down lists which show up over or near ad blocks. All of these can obviously trigger lots of accidental clicks.

Google also mention "menu links", but I doubt they could crack down on this except in extreme cases. It's even possible that they're trying to refer specifically to those expanding menus, which aren't technically "drop-downs".

matrix_neo




msg:3334064
 7:33 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Exactly one month back I was adviced by google adsense team to use the link unit just above my nav links on the left, this recomendation came after checking my website with my homepage screenshot.

Was that a testing? And this is the conclution?

FourDegreez




msg:3334092
 7:53 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

I agree with the interpretation that this isn't about placing ad or link units close to static navigation menus so much as it is about javascript drop-down menus, flash games, and the like. Google isn't talking about the problem of a user aiming for a fixed-position nav link on your page and hitting an AdSense block by mistake. They're talking about the user mousing over a javascript drop-down menu that is prone to roll up, exposing an AdSense block underneath that the user ends up clicking on accidentally. We've all seen flaky javascript menus that have this problem.

The language Google used ("if we detect enough of these clicks" "we may disable") suggests there is no hard rule here. You won't get any statement as specific as "ads must be spaced X pixels from Y", and thank goodness for that. Google is simply reserving the right to take action if they see abuse in this area.

RonPK




msg:3334162
 8:55 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google is simply reserving the right to take action if they see abuse in this area.

Spot-on.

matrix_neo




msg:3334684
 10:02 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I guess it is about not creating oppurtunities for accidental clicks or unintentional clicks.

wanderingmind




msg:3334747
 11:42 am on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

EFV, someone at G deciding that I am deceiving when I am not - that is always a possibility.

Not that I am worried for myself - there are adsense publisher support people I can call up and harass asking for full and complete verification of my site due to the alck of clear instructions.

Perhaps that is what we should do - mail support asking for verification.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3335655
 8:18 am on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google is simply reserving the right to take action if they see abuse in this area.

If they are moving the goalposts then they should give more guidance and let us know officially, not through some blog that hardly anyone reads.

FrostyMug




msg:3335823
 12:45 pm on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

interesting - the 'key' word is near. on my site my ads are on top (linkbar) and left side (vertical banner)... and my navigation is on top, right side or within text.

But I like this rule... with all my experience with adsense, and for all the internet browsing i do, some sites are so clever, I've clicked on one or two link bars myself mistaking them for site navigation. Of course, I immediately thought about implementing the same layout on my site (HA!)... but wisely decided against it.

[edited by: FrostyMug at 1:13 pm (utc) on May 10, 2007]

AdSenseAdvisor




msg:3337287
 6:07 pm on May 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hey all,

We know last week's blog post caused a lot of confusion because it seemed to contradict our optimization tips, so the policy team posted a clarification this week.

In case you haven't seen it:
[adsense.blogspot.com...]

Hope that helps,
-ASA

netmeg




msg:3337311
 6:32 pm on May 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hey ASA, as long as you're here (and sorry for the OT) - we got notification that AdWords will be down for maintenance tomorrow afternoon - can we assume AdSense will be down as well?

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3337351
 7:07 pm on May 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ta ASA, you see it's all about communication :)

AdSenseAdvisor




msg:3337368
 7:26 pm on May 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Turns out you're more on the ball than I am -- there is maintenance tomorrow, they just forgot to tell me. :)

I'll post separately about that now.

-ASA

Go60Guy




msg:3338043
 1:22 pm on May 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks ASA for the clarification. Now it makes sense.

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